SAN FRANCISCO – In the wake of a record-setting year for mergers and acquisitions in 2015 and in a year potentially set to break that record, law giant Morrison & Foerster has hired four new partners to round out its private equity team.
The firm brought Darío Avram, Patrick Huard and Alex Kaufman to the Private Equity Investments & Buyouts Group from Kirkland & Ellis, while Sara Terheggen is joining the firm's corporate department from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
"We thought the ability to come in and add to, grow a private equity practice, a middle-market private equity practice, that was just too good of a chance to pass up," Avram told the Northern California Record of the reasoning he, Huard and Kaufman had for moving to Morrison & Foerster.
Terheggen added that her experience with both private equity firms and tech companies "was really a way to kind of round out the PE strategy for MoFo."
Morrison & Foerster is already a highly regarded law firm in the tech world, which both Avram and Terheggen mentioned. In a press release about the new hires, Private Equity Investment & Buyouts and Mergers & Acquisitions Groups co-chair Eric McCrath referred to the Bay Area as the firm's "traditional cornerstone."
But even for firms well-established in the beating heart of the tech industry, there is room for growth right now, given the amount of money flowing into all of the industries located in the Bay Area.
"We're seeing a lot of new funds that are growing, or funds from the East Coast that are looking to invest in technology that don't have that expertise and that we do, now, on both sides of the coin," Avram said, "Both on the private equity deal experience, but also, separately, on the tech, life sciences, health care, etc. All of these incredibly hot, burning areas, MoFo has that footprint and we're here to help grow that."
Terheggen added that while Morrison & Foerster "has a really strong foundation in the tech space, in terms of IP and patent litigation and all kinds of expertise in data security and cybersecurity," the private equity side of the equation has not been a primary focus. Terheggen characterized the role she, Avram, Huard and Kaufman will play as enhancing the firm's existing capabilities and adding a focus on private equity.
"A lot of the capital markets and securities work I've done has been with some large tech companies," Terheggen said, "but also PE portfolio companies."
Avram, meanwhile, said that his "practice specifically focuses on financing. So I'm the leverage part of a leveraged buyout. I work closely with private equity M&A colleagues."